Amy Thompson: The Progressive Pioneer
September 15th, 2009
Meet Amy Thompson: an LDS mommy blogger who advocates a life full of fresh garden vegetables, chickens and home-made everything
by Clayton Thompson
Bees, chickens, fruit trees, grape vines, vegetable and flower gardens, all on less than an acre, perhaps you've heard this called urban homesteading. To Amy Thompson, of Salt Lake City, it's progressive pioneering. The name is also the title of her blog, where she artfully chronicles her life as an "urban homesteading, attachment parenting, LDS mama."
What makes hers stand out from so many other Mormon mommy blogs? The hybrid between East and West, Mormon and Hippie is unique in the blogosphere. Created a few short months ago, it is a spin-off of a personal blog, now geared towards a broader audience. Thompson, a Mainer by birth and a current SLC resident dislikes the labels "hippie" or "granola" so commonly attached to her lifestyle. "Those terms carry baggage and tend not to evoke an image Latter-day Saints are eager to embrace, but pioneering, now that we can get into!"
"There seems to be a disconnect between our cultural pioneer roots and the LDS culture today," says Thompson, "I'd love to see more moms get into some of the things our pioneer forbears took as par for the course; cooking with food storage, raising our own food, sewing clothes, cloth diapering, extended breastfeeding, co-sleeping with our babies, baby wearing, simple living. And I think it's happening!" Thompson claims to feel a shift in the cultural landscape aided in part by the current economic situation and partly by an increased level of awareness and education.
Thick with artfully shot photographs of healthy, homemade food, garden updates and various projects from homemade hammocks to handmade books, Thompson's blog is as much a visual treat as an enlightening read. Without lecturing or using negatives, Progressive Pioneer demonstrates a better way, all the while with a smile. Thompson's enjoyment of her self-imposed urban homesteading life is contagious. You might just find yourself inspired to make your own almond milk or knit your own socks.
Slightly Martha Stewart-esque in her picture book perfect portrayal of their do-it-yourself lifestyle, Thompson does occasionally level with her readers, such as the post script to the homemade hammock post where she confesses that the contraption broke with her in it and caused her several days of a stiff neck. However, her jovial, upbeat approach to even the snags along the way makes it an enjoyable read.
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Thompson says that she has received a surprising amount of feedback from other LDS women who employ similar practices, but feel isolated within their community. "People feel weird trying something like cloth diapers when they don't see anyone else doing it. I hope to be that someone who people can look at and say, 'hey, she's doing it, I can too!'" One reader wrote, "I wanted to tell you what a relief it is to find that there are women like you around... Being LDS and living a natural and vegan lifestyle, eating whole, organic foods, breastfeeding, cloth diapering, home/unschooling... I didn't think there was anyone else out there that had many of the same ideals [as me] as well as being LDS. " Others write in with comments such as, "I am thrilled to have discovered your blog; it's totally a daily read!" or "I enjoy the feel of your blog... all those things resonate with me as well."
The blog serves as a resource for information about local events, places to visit and where to buy things like wooden toys and baby slings. Weekly giveaways are part of the blog's allure. Anything from diapers to crocheted earrings to topless undershirts for nursing moms are on the docket for giveaways. Not just any company can get a giveaway slot, Thompson often recruits specific companies she wants to introduce to her readers and has been known to turn down a giveaway or sponsorship if the company wasn't up to her standards. "I don't think it's too much to ask that a company be stylish, well-designed and ethical," says Thompson. By the looks of her blog, it appears she holds herself to the same standard.
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Rage Against Bad Food and TV: Meet Amy Thompson, the Progressive Pioneer